Chicago Bulls: NBA’s draft lottery system is a failure

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

For the third straight season, the Chicago Bulls will pick seventh overall in the NBA Draft due to the NBA’s failed lottery system.

Heading into Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, hopes were high for the Chicago Bulls. Coming off a 22-60 record, the Bulls had the third best odds to land the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and land Duke’s Zion Williamson. Unfortunately, the Bulls weren’t even able to land a top-five pick.

With the Bulls being snubbed of a top pick for the third straight year, there is one main question that needs to be asked: Why was the team with the NBA’s third-worst record snubbed of a top draft pick? The answer is simple: The NBA’s draft lottery system makes it impossible to guarantee anything.

Unlike the NFL’s draft system where draft order is awarded based on standing, the NBA’s draft system is based on odds. This is where most seem to criticize the NBA’s lottery system for multiple reasons.

First, a team such as the Los Angeles Lakers that are a borderline playoff team and already have a superstar player in LeBron James could end up with a high pick which means that they can add another future star to their roster. In other words, the rich get richer.

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Second, there is less margin for error for NBA teams. A player either pans out or he doesn’t. Each year in the NBA, there’s really only one or two college superstars that go onto to be superstars in the NBA. This presents a problem because there isn’t as much quality talent. Why not base the draft order off the regular season standings to give teams that have finished with the worst records a chance to get back to relevancy by drafting the best players?

Take for example the Chicago Bears, who from 2015-2017 had some of the NFL’s worst records and were awarded a top ten pick each year. As a result, after years of losing, the Bears finally had a winning season in 2018.

The same needs to apply for the NBA. Adam Silver and co. shouldn’t punish weaker teams due to a system which has no logic behind it. Just imagine another Western Conference Powerhouse landing a top three pick in the NBA Draft. What happens then? All of a sudden, a strong team added another great player while weaker teams suffer.

The only real way to get rid of the NBA’s lottery system is to replace it with a system where everything is based on standings. Give weaker teams like the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks a guaranteed top pick and watch how it will balance the landscape of the NBA.

By having a lottery system, it only further divides the NBA’s landscape. While teams in bigger markets may have an advantage over teams in smaller markets, this is true in almost all sports. Shift the odds just slightly in the favor of the weaker teams and watch how it allows most of the NBA to be relevant once again.